The supporters of the proposed gambling and entertainment complex Port Yankton have said they are able to gather the required number of signatures from state voters in order for the issue to be placed on the 2020 ballot.
The Yankton Area Progressive Growth group’s campaigners have previously hoped that the necessary constitutional amendment placement on the 2018 state-wide ballot would have been approved by the South Dakota Legislature. Unfortunately, local lawmakers did not pass the measure, with the latter being thumbed down in a legislative committee earlier in 2018.
In order to get permission for the desired gambling expansion, the group must persuade South Dakota voters to back the constitutional amendment. Under the current gambling legislation of the state, gambling services are only legal in Deadwood as well as at tribal casinos. The planned constitutional amendment is set to apply only to the Port Yankton complex project which will be situated along the Missouri River.
Earlier in May, the Yankton Area Progressive Growth group started the initiative of drafting the amendment, after seeking the approval of South Dakota Attorney General’s office as well as of the Legislative Research Council. The Chief Executive Officer of the Group, Nancy Wenande, explained that reaching a general consensus had been necessary in order for the project to move forward. According to Mrs. Wenande, about 35,000 signatures would have to be gathered by the Group’s volunteers from local voters so that the measure is put on the state-wide ballot. She further explained that the exact number of votes that would be necessary equals 10% of the total voters who are to take part in the South Dakota general election later in 2018.
What is more, negotiations with representatives of Deadwood and other communities are expected to start any time soon, as well as conversations with the local Indian tribes.
Port Yankton Complex to Seek Economic Development
As mentioned above, the supporters of the Port Yankton project seek approval of the constitutional amendment only in terms of the planned complex. They have explained that despite the fact that the initiative includes gambling, it is most of all a step seeking an economic development for the region.
Mrs. Wenande explained that the pro-gambling expansion campaigners wanted to boost the attractiveness of Yankton and bring more funds to the area.
The Port Yankton gambling and entertainment project would include a hotel and casino, with adjacent dining area and convention center. The complex is set to be developed on the Gurney property nearby the Missouri River in the historic part of the city. As mentioned above, the backers of the constitutional amendment claim that the addition of the complex to the gambling and business landscape of Yankton could bring a new life to the city, and of course, bring fresh money to the local economy.